Paul Lux, PG Contributing Editor, wearing a Camps de Luca bespoke suit
The lapel is one of the most distinctive features about a suit, but many suit aficionados like to fixate on a much more subtle feature on a suit: the lapel notch.
To review the basics, we define the lapel and the lapel notch:
Lapel: The part of a suit jacket immediately below the the collar that is folded back on either side, along the front opening.
There are three main lapel styles, which include:
Lapel Notch: The opening that is formed where the suit coat collar and lapel join each other–typically forming a cut-out ‘ V ‘ shape. This V-opening is often referred to as the “mouth”. The notched lapel has many notch-cut variations according to the house style.
In Paris, the lapel notch on a tailored jacket is especially distinctive and Parisian tailoring houses are particularly noted for their savoir-faire in styling a definitive lapel notch.
Camps de Luca has become legendary for making one of the most noted lapel notches in the world. The lovely shape of the notch is referred to as le cran Camps, or cran parisien (Parisian lapel notch), and has become part of the very definition of French tailoring. This characteristic cran parisien notch is what the English call the frogmouth notch and the Italians call the bocca di lupo, or the wolfmouth notch…but it is the French who captures the people’s choice award for the world’s most notable lapel notch.
This famous cran parisien is often imitated, but never seems to be equalled.
The Camps de Luca notch inspired the Smalto lapel notch–an adaptation of the Camps notch design, which some say resembles a reduced open peak lapel.
Francesco Smalto, former star head cutter at Camps, created his personal interpretation of the Camps notch when he launched his own tailoring house.
The illustrations below include “The Parisian Four” — Cifonelli, Camps de Luca, Arnys of Berluti, and Smalto, as worn by Parisian Gentleman’s Contributing Editor, Adriano Dirnelli in the first three pictures below.
Can you identify which notch belongs to which of the four iconic French tailoring houses?
HOUSE OPENING COLLAR VERSUS LAPEL SECTION
1. Smalto Narrow Collar section shorter than lapel section
2. Camps de Luca Medium Collar section almost similar to lapel section
3. Arnys/Berluti Medium Collar section slightly shorter than lapel section
4. Cifonelli Wide Varies
http://dirnelli.tumblr.com (pictures 1, 2 and 3)
http://paul-lux.tumblr.com (opening picture)